March 01, 2016 6 Comments
A customer asked about the noise of using a pressure washer or petrol driven soft washing pump to clean headstones and gravestones in cemeteries.
As Leo spent several years working as a gravedigger back in the '70s we thought we'd shed some light on this soft washing market.
Back in the day Leo used a pick, shovel, and fork to dig graves. And he moved the earth around the cemetery with a hand cart. The only disturbance to tranquility came from petrol driven lawnmowers during the summer. But today graves are mostly dug by noisy machines and earth is transported around by motorised dump trucks.
Cemeteries have become far less peaceful places.
Given the other machinery now used in cemeteries, the sound of a petrol driven softwash pump, especially considering the short period of time it would be used, will not be an issue in the majority of cases.
Of course if you can get your van sufficiently close to the headstone your electric pump will do the job just fine, and this would be the preferable choice.
It could be possible to attach a hosepipe to the cemetery's standpipe. That would work if there was a tap close enough. And if no-one else wanted to use the tap.
But cemeteries, even quite large ones, often have no more than a couple of taps. And this means that many headstones will be too far away from a tap for a hosepipe to reach. Therefore the best option is to take your own water supply with you in your van.
Alternatively you could use a backpack sprayer, although we've found they tend to leak and so it is essential to wear chemical-proof protective clothing.
If you are going to use a pressure washer to renovate a headstone – and with the latest soft washing innovations there's rarely a need now – we strongly suggest using low pressure, a fan jet, and holding the nozzle at least 12 inches away from the surface. These precautions will help reduce the "rapid weathering" effect on the stone that is a downside of pressure washing.
Use the pressure washer in the same way to rinse Lightning Cleanze after gently brushing it into the surface and leaving for 30-60 minutes.
If you are concerned about possible damage to lettering, etc on a specific gravestone it would be wise to contact the stonemason responsible and ask for their opinion.
If that's not possible ask any qualified and competent stonemason for their professional advice. It's highly unlikely there would be a problem but materials are changing all the time.
Lightning Cleanze biocide at 5:1 will do an excellent job of cleaning most stonework (although as with any soft washing job, always treat a small, inconspicuous test patch on the rear of the headstone first).Then, to give headstones made from porous materials a long-lasting residual protection against re-colonisation, finish off with a treatment of Bio Cleanze biocide at 50:1 (40:1 in winter). *
Click here to learn about creating repeat business through the Benz "Clean & Maintain" softwash systems.
Quick tip: If you use a steam cleaner we strongly suggest finishing the job with a treatment of This is because, although the high temperature of the steam will certainly kill most organisms, and the initial cleaning effect can be excellent, the surface will begin re-colonising again almost immediately.
* Some headstones now have a glossy, non-porous finish. For these, post-treating with Benz Bio Cleanze would be of little value as it will be unable to soak into the surface and offer residual protection against re-colonisation. Most of the time, Lightning Cleanze applied at 10:1 dilution will be an adequate softwash treatment for these headstones.
Quick tip: Offer your service by leaving a laminated calling card at graves that are still being cared for (usually they will have flowers or tended plants). Many people will want to have the headstone of their loved one made more presentable and pleasant to look at. Obviously, use sensitive language on your card to respect the feelings of the relatives whose loved ones lay in the grave.
We hope this information is helpful and sincerely wish you great success in your soft washing business,
How to find answers to most soft washing questions: Simply enter a relevant "keyword" or short phrase – e.g. keyword for the above link = "how to" – into our in-site Search Engine (magnifying glass icon on the main menu).
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Phone: 0800 70 74 222
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Phone: 00353 214 622 978
Lines open Monday - Friday, 9am – 5pm
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PS: Click here to set up your "Clean & Maintain" programme. After completing an initial soft wash treatment, put your customer on a "Clean & Maintain" ongoing maintenance programme. Your customers will enjoy a permanently clean property and you will enjoy a steady stream of repeat business.
This is clearly a win-win arrangement for you and your customers.
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